United Way and Labor leadership partner to support working families

As the sun rises over Downtown Detroit on Labor Day, Daryl Newman, president of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, arrives to fellowship with thousands of union members and supporters. They’ve gathered to celebrate a century-old Detroit tradition: the annual Labor Day March.

Daryl is one the newest members of United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Board of Directors, helping to guide our mission and vision for the community forward. He’s also on our Campaign Cabinet, which works with our corporate partners to set and achieve ambitious fundraising goals.

Donning colorful shirts that represent local unions, labor members greet Daryl with hugs and handshakes. They represent a variety of different vocations — from teachers to bricklayers. But they’re united in their effort to improve working people’s lives.

For nearly 80 years, the men and women of labor have volunteered time and donated funds to United Way. As a result, they’ve helped us assist working families and benefit local communities for decades.

The need for action grows stronger as 44 percent of households in our region struggle to meet their basic needs. The only way to solve this crisis is to help people out during times of turmoil and tackle the root causes of our region’s biggest problems.

Daryl Newman, pictured here with Metro Detroit AFL-CIO executive leadership, became president of the labor group in March 2019. He also joined United Way’s Board of Directors and Campaign Cabinet this year.

A lifetime commitment to working people

Daryl is the son of a union postal worker and a Detroit public school teacher. From them, he learned the value of trade unionism early on. Since then, it has remained the focus of his life and work.

After graduation from Michigan State University, Daryl worked in political organizing for candidates and the Michigan Democratic Party. He went ont to become the youngest person ever elected to the office of secretary-treasurer of the Michigan State AFL-CIO. In March of this year, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO named him president.

Brenda Moon has worked with Detroit’s labor movement for nearly 40 years. She worked closely with Daryl at the beginning of his career and is excited to see what he can accomplish in his new roles with AFL-CIO and United Way.

“He really is skilled at what he does,” Brenda said. “He’s astute at assessing a situation, looking at a campaign and strategizing a way to move things forward.”

Under Daryl’s direction, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO will continue to mobilize members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice.

“We’re going to continue to build on the successes we’ve had in addressing the inequalities faced by working people, raise wages and build a more sustainable economy that works for everyone,” Daryl said.

As a board and cabinet member, Daryl wants to engage with members of the community and get them involved with United Way. He views these partnerships as a way to build common ground and gain understanding of the issues working people face.

United Way and Labor have stood side by side for nearly 80 years. Together, we help Metro Detroit families meet their basic needs and get ahead. One way we show our love for labor is by participating every year in Detroit’s Labor Day March.

Bringing prosperity to all

At United Way, we help families meet their basic needs and equip people with skills to build better lives.

Daryl’s passions align with our mission. He focuses on ways to level the playing field for working people and help them succeed. This includes supporting access to financial resources, job training and other supports. He sees union membership as a way to bridge the gap. Union members, he adds, earn more on average than their non-union counterparts.

“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing — from the CEO to any rank-and-file member,” he said. “We all want to make enough to live well and be able to support our families.”

He is also a strong advocate for increased access to training.

“Helping to make sure men and women have the skills and training they need, earn a fair return for their work and provide for their families is essential to long-term economic stability,” Daryl said.

Creating strong communities requires collective action from organizations and individuals. Daryl sees volunteering as a way to bring both groups together, and encourages people to give back to their communities.

“Volunteering is a way to connect with your neighbors and make meaningful changes in the world around you,” he said. “Volunteerism doesn’t just build the community; it builds the individual as well.”

Visit our volunteer portal for opportunities to get involved and make a difference.